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Review: Iron Maiden - Fear Of The Dark
Iron Maiden
Fear Of The Dark

Label: EMI
Year released: 1992
Duration: 58:31
Tracks: 12
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: August 24, 2019
Reviewed by: Mjölnir
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.76/5 (75.18%) (112 Votes)

The 9th album from the iconic outfit, Fear of the Dark, works as a sort of antithesis of the preceding No Prayer for the Dying. Where NPftD was reviled when it came out and later gained more recognition than it ever deserved, FotD did pretty well when it came out but has largely been unjustly trashed since then. That puts me in something of a minority when I say that this is one of the best two or three albums the band has ever released.

That's not to say I don't understand why it gets so much hate. This is definitely a departure from the frenetic, epic sound of earlier works like Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, instead going in the slower, more rock-oriented direction found on the previous album and Bruce's solo work at the time. However, where all those albums were equal parts dull and irritating, FotD features more varied and mature songwriting than a lot of the previous albums while still retaining the energy of their beloved works. You get more typical Metal numbers like "Be Quick or Be Dead" and the blistering "Judas Be My Guide", slower, moodier numbers like "Fear is the Key" and the gorgeous "Afraid to Shoot Strangers", and pounding epics like "The Fugitive" and the stellar closing title track, all of which show a band ready and willing to branch out of their established sound while exploring different facets of it. Even rockier numbers like "From Here to Eternity" and "Chains of Misery" rock hard enough to justify being on a Maiden album.

Performance-wise, the band is as tight and professional as you'd expect a band to be after over a decade of existence, and Bruce sounds as good as he ever did, maybe even better than some of their earlier works. All that said, there are some dead spots on the album, such as the dull, repetitive groove of "The Apparition" and the lousy "Weekend Warrior," which sounds like a bad AC/DC song that someone took from the cutting room floor. The production's also a little dry, but when have Maiden ever had a truly great production job?

I doubt I'll change anyone's minds about this album, but if you never gave this album a chance based on what people said about it, I'd urge you to go give it a chance. It's not like the stuff that came before or after, but it's a great album of rocking, sometimes epic Heavy Metal that deserves better than it usually gets.

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